Sunday, October 17, 2021

Robert Durst, 78,is jailed for life for 2000 execution of best friend Susan Berman

Robert Durst was sentenced to life in prison today for the 2000 murder of his best friend Susan Berman who he shot dead in a gangland-style execution so that she couldn’t reveal what she knew about his wife Kathie’s 1982 disappearance.

Superior Court Judge Mark Windham sentenced Durst, now 78, at the Inglewood Courthouse in Los Angeles Superior Court.

‘As Susan Berman’s family have described for us, Susan Berman was an extraordinary human. I personally wish I could have known her,’ he told the court.

‘This is indeed a horrific crime.’

For the first-degree murder of Berman with intention of killing a witness, Durst was imprisoned to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Prosecutors chose not to seek the death penalty for Durst who evaded justice for more than two decades for Berman’s brutal slaying and is also long suspected of murdering Kathie and his former neighbor Morris Black. 

Sareb Kaufman, Berman’s son, said during a powerful victim’s impact statement that Durst ruined his life.

‘You didn’t just murder Kathy, or Morris, or Susan, you also murdered me,’ he said. ‘You murdered the person I was. All his dreams are gone. He no longer exists.’

Durst was found guilty of Berman’s murder back on September 17 after a lengthy trial where the jury was presented with damning and bizarre evidence including a handwritten note leading cops to the victim’s body and a latex face mask that the killer used as a disguise. 

Durst also took the stand to deny all knowledge of who killed Berman and Kathie – before admitting he would never confess to being the killer anyway. 

His defense team filed a motion requesting a new trial last month citing the delay in his trial – caused in part by the pandemic – and insufficient evidence. 

Durst’s sentencing came as New York prosecutors are also preparing to bring charges against him over Kathie’s disappearance almost four decades ago. 

Robert Durst, 78, was sentenced Thursday for the murder of Susan Berman. He is pictured in court last month during closing arguments

Robert Durst, 78, was sentenced Thursday for the murder of Susan Berman. He is pictured in court last month during closing arguments 

Durst was convicted of murdering his best friend Susan Berman (pictured together) in a gangland-execution style murder in her Los Angeles home in 2000

Durst was convicted of murdering his best friend Susan Berman (pictured together) in a gangland-execution style murder in her Los Angeles home in 2000

Berman’s son said his life has not been the same since the murder.

‘All I can say is that 47, I’m still in the same type of job, never advanced,’ he told the court. 

‘No wife, no children, and almost no family because of what Robert has done… Since my mother’s murder, it has been a daily soul consuming and crushing experience.’ 

The victim’s niece Grace Berman said she wished Durst no ill will.

‘In fact, I would like Bobby to live many, many, years; to be on record for the longest living predator, ever,’ she told the judge.

‘And with each breath between from right now on, when you breathe in, you will hear Susan. When you exhale, you will hear Berman, and the ringing in your ears may never stop.’ 

The judge during the sentencing described the crime as 'brutal' as Durst watched stoically

The judge during the sentencing described the crime as ‘brutal’ as Durst watched stoically

Deni Marcus, who grew up with Berman, told the court of how she robbed of a ‘loyal, fabulous friend.’ 

‘She was always so supportive and wonderful,’ she  said. ‘She would make my grey days a lot less grey.’

She said she does not hate Durst. 

‘Hate was never on my wheelhouse or hers,’ she told the court. ‘Hate cannot enter my life, no matter what. She always made sure that I knew that hate serves no purpose.’ 

During the trial, prosecutors said Durst had also killed Kathie – despite him never facing charges and the trial being Berman’s murder.

They used Kathie’s alleged murder as a motive for Durst to kill his longtime friend and confidante.  

The jury also upheld the special circumstances allegation that Berman was killed because of her knowledge about Kathie’s disappearance.  

Durst was accused of shooting Berman point-blank in the back of her head after New York authorities reopened the investigation into Kathie’s disappearance in 2000 and wanted to speak to her about the case.  

Prosecutor Habib Balian showed jurors a latex mask that Durst was found with when he was arrested at a New Orleans hotel in March 2015

Prosecutor Habib Balian showed jurors a latex mask that Durst was found with when he was arrested at a New Orleans hotel in March 2015

Prosecutors said Berman knew too much about what happened to Kathie and so she was silenced. 

Berman is thought to have helped Durst cover his tracks after his wife’s disappearance, posing as Kathie to phone her medical school to say she was sick on the morning after she was last seen alive.  

This led investigators to believe Durst’s version of events that he saw her board a train to New York City on the night of January 31 1982 after they spent the weekend at their home in South Salem, Westchester County.

He claimed he spoke to his wife when she arrived at their Manhattan penthouse and had cocktails with his neighbor later that night. 

Investigators later found no evidence of Kathie ever boarding the train or arriving into New York and Durst later confessed to lying about their phone call and his drinks with a neighbor.   

Durst testified over 15 days during his trial, nine of them under cross-examination.

He claimed he discovered Berman’s body when he went to visit her but did not call police for fear he would be accused of her murder.

He also finally confessed to writing a letter sent to the LAPD alerting them to Berman’s dead body in her Benedict Canyon home on Christmas Eve 2000.

Real estate heir (pictured in August at his trial) Durst is the lead suspect in Kathie's 1982 disappearance

Real estate heir (pictured in August at his trial) Durst is the lead suspect in Kathie’s 1982 disappearance 

Kathie and Robert Durst pictured together. She vanished in 1982 and has not been seen since

Kathie and Robert Durst pictured together. She vanished in 1982 and has not been seen since  

The letter told cops there was a ‘cadaver’ at the address and Beverly Hills was spelled incorrectly.

Durst denied for years that it was him who sent the letter before finally admitting at his trial – but claiming it was because he discovered his friend already murdered and didn’t want to leave her body undiscovered.

Durst was also charged - and acquitted in 2005 - of the 2001 murder of Morris Black (above) who he admitted dismembering

Durst was also charged – and acquitted in 2005 – of the 2001 murder of Morris Black (above) who he admitted dismembering

Prosecutors also argued Durst was adept in the art of deception, showing jurors a latex mask he was found with when he was arrested at a New Orleans hotel in March 2015. 

As the Durst Organization heir, his entanglement in the disappearance of his wife, death and dismemberment of his neighbor, and execution of his best friend has hit headlines for years. 

But he evaded prosecution for years. 

Prosecutors credited the documentary The Jinx: The Life And Deaths Of Robert Durst for his eventual downfall.

In the show, a hot mic picks up Durst confessing: ‘I killed them all, of course.’  

Documentary makers also compared the ‘cadaver’ note to another letter from Durst to Berman which spelled Beverly Hills the same way. 

This comparison was presented at Durst’s trial. 

Jill Biden’s first husband ‘to be star grand jury witness’ over Kathie Durst’s disappearance after he revealed he slept with her 10 days before she vanished in 1982

Jill Biden‘s ex-husband Bill Stevenson has been approached to be a potential star witness over the 1982 disappearance of Robert Durst’s wife Kathie, according to  report.

Sources close to the investigation told News 12 that New York investigators have reached out to Stevenson for questioning following his bombshell revelation that he had been having an affair with Kathie and Durst found out about it just ten days before she went missing.

Stevenson, who was married to Jill between 1970 and 1975 and claims she cheated on him with Joe Biden, claimed he slept with Kathie at her and Durst’s New York City apartment back in January 1982. 

The morning after, Durst showed up at the apartment, threatening Kathie and slamming a wad of rolled up cash in her face, he claimed.

Just 10 days later, Kathie vanished without a trace. 

Investigators are said to have been none the wiser until Stevenson spoke out to News 12 about the incident earlier this year – despite Stevenson saying he reported it to police when Kathie disappeared. 

His version of events could provide prosecutors with a potential motive for Durst killing his wife.

Jill Biden's ex-husband Bill Stevenson (pictured) has been approached to be a potential star witness over the 1982 disappearance of Robert Durst's wife Kathie, according to report

Jill Biden’s ex-husband Bill Stevenson (pictured) has been approached to be a potential star witness over the 1982 disappearance of Robert Durst’s wife Kathie, according to report

Now, he is expected to be called as a star witness to testify in front of a grand jury in Westchester as District Attorney Mimi Rocah pursues charges against convicted murderer Durst almost four decades on from when his wife was last seen alive.

Several other witnesses have also been called to testify in the proceedings which are due to begin no later than Monday at the Westchester County Courthouse.

This means it is likely that the grand jury panel will be selected by the end of this week. While these other witnesses have not been identified, they are expected to include several of Kathie’s friends and relatives. 

It emerged earlier this month that Rocah was pursuing charges against Durst, now 78, over Kathie’s disappearance after he was convicted in September of murdering his best friend Susan Berman in a gangland-execution style murder in her Los Angeles home in 2000.  

Stevenson told News 12 earlier this year that he and Kathie had been friends since they were children and he and Jill had hosted her and Durst at their home in Delaware in 1974.

While Jill and Kathie ‘hit it off’ during the visit, Stevenson said he noticed Durst behaving oddly. 

Kathie and Robert Durst together. Sources said that New York investigators have reached out to Stevenson for questioning following his bombshell revelation that he had been having an affair with Kathie and that Durst found out about it just ten days before she went missing

Kathie and Robert Durst together. Sources said that New York investigators have reached out to Stevenson for questioning following his bombshell revelation that he had been having an affair with Kathie and that Durst found out about it just ten days before she went missing

Stevenson said he and Jill hosted the Dursts at their home in Delaware (above) one time in 1974

Stevenson said he and Jill hosted the Dursts at their home in Delaware (above) one time in 1974 

‘I remember him talking to himself in my garage. To me it was like, ‘oh my god’,’ he recalled.

Stevenson said his friendship with Kathie only became intimate in January 1982 – when he was divorced from Jill but Kathie was still married to Durst. 

He said Kathie began confiding in him that she was scared of her husband and he visited her five times between 1981 and 1982.  

‘She said I’m having a real problem with Robert and I’m scared to death,’ he said.

‘She said he was being violent with her. At that point, she couldn’t trust anybody around her that knew Robert.’

It was on one trip to visit Kathie at her Manhattan penthouse apartment that things became romantic, he said.   

‘She was in this silk nightie. Nothing was said. She grabbed my hand, led me back to the bedroom,’ he said.

‘We closed the door and life changed for both of us. Totally unexpected. Beautiful night. No regrets.’

Stevenson recalled Durst turning up at the apartment the following morning and discovering him there – with Kathie telling her husband she was leaving him, 

‘The next thing I realize we hear pounding on the door, it’s 7.30 in the morning, she runs out of the bedroom, runs back in and says it’d bob,’ he said.

‘I jumped up and ran out, he screams something and he had a wad of cash and he hit her right in the face with it. He started yelling: ‘Kathleen, this isn’t going to happen.’

‘She starts yelling: ‘I’m moving to Delaware! I’m done! We’re done!’ I’m like sitting there, I’m in shock. People have to understand, this guy is a monster. I saw it in his eyes.’

When Kathie went missing days later, Stevenson said he went straight to the police but no one followed up on his report.     

Stevenson claimed he slept with Kathie (pictured) at her NYC apartment back in January 1982

He said Durst showed up at the apartment, threatening Kathie (pictured) who vanished 10 days later

Stevenson claimed he slept with Kathie (pictured) at her NYC apartment back in January 1982. The morning after, Durst showed up at the apartment, threatening Kathie and slamming a wad of rolled up cash in her face, he claimed. Just 10 days later, Kathie vanished

‘I got in my car, went to the 19th precinct – literally within 24 hours – and said: ‘Nuh uh. He killed her.’

‘[The cop] wrote a couple things down, and said ‘we’ll get back to you.’ I never heard a word back from them,’ he said. 

Stevenson said he believes Durst killed her after discovering their affair and described himself as the ‘missing link in this case.’

He said he feels like he ‘let her down’ and often wonders ‘what could I have done differently’ – but insists he has no regrets about their affair. 

‘I don’t feel guilty about that. He was abusing her and she wanted out. And I feel like if something happened wonderful at the end of her life, I hope this was it,’ he said.

‘I’m sorry. I just hope that you know she had the same thoughts at the end there.’ 

The First Lady has never spoken publicly about the case or mentioned meeting the Dursts in the past.

This article shown on dailymail.co.uk Source link Author on date 2021-10-14 22:25:37

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